UFC Light Heavyweight bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill
Betting Pick: Matt Hamill
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The evening’s second bout is a very interesting one, as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz returns to the UFC to take on Matt “The Hammer” Hamill. In addition to the fact that both guys have similar styles, this one has an extra layer of intrigue because Ortiz was actually Hamill’s coach when he appeared on The Ultimate Fighter. Has the student surpassed the teacher, or will the Tito Ortiz of old make a return appearance?
Ortiz, a future UFC Hall of Famer, was once an extremely dominant champion. With a mix of decent boxing, great wrestling, dominant ground and pound, and very underrated jiu-jitsu, Ortiz had the Light Heavyweight division on lockdown for years. In recent appearances though, he has looked much less dominant than he once did, probably as the result of years of debilitating neck and back injuries. Still, he is a dangerous and experienced veteran who is not going to be overwhelmed in any aspect of the fight game, and represents a difficult stylistic challenge for Hamill.
Hamill, in many ways, is a lot like the Tito of old. A dominant wrestler with a great top game, Hamill may not have the same type of jiu-jitsu that Ortiz did, but he makes up for it with superior striking. His boxing is fairly technical, he has pretty good high kicks, and his punches pack a lot of power. Still, his best bet to win any fight is by taking his opponent down and grinding out a win with top control and ground and pound, but it remains to be seen whether he can implement that gameplan against Ortiz.
This is going to be a competitive fight, because while Ortiz has a huge experience advantage, his performance is bound to be hampered by injuries yet again. Without the ability to effectively change levels for takedowns, Ortiz’s best weapon is weakened, and that is going to be a problem for him. I think Hamill’s boxing and wrestling will catch him by surprise, and he is going to spend the majority of this fight on the defensive, which should be enough to earn Hamill the decision win.
Prediction: Matt “The Hammer” Hamill via unanimous decision.
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